Ed Vaizey has not been getting the most flattering of nicknames in the last year.  First there was “Evaisive” and now there is “Lazy Vaizey”.  Why he gets such nicknames is not hard to explain.  The complete lack of action by the DCMS even when both campaigners and the Council in Doncaster ask for them to visit is the lastest in a series, if inaction can ever be said to have a series, in the last year.  From a library perspective, the deparment is increasingly like a black hole – one can only infer its existence from the complete lack of anything coming from it.  However (prepare for a shocking statement everyone), blame for this may be unfairly being placed on Mr Vaizey who is, for all of his manifest passivity, merely a deputy.  He does at least use libraries and is a passionate advocate of them (or at least he was while in opposition). His boss is Jeremy Hunt who has not used a public library in at least a decade and it is with him that the blame for the lack of leadership must rest. 
405 libraries (325 buildings and 80 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day. 
  • King Abdullah approves plan to upgrade public  Saudi Arabia plans “updating and digitalizing more than 80 public libraries throughout the Kingdom over five years.”.  “”This project exemplifies Saudi Arabia”s commitment to its people to expand and improve educational opportunities,” said Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. “This will increase access to educational resources across the Kingdom.” 
  • Libraries must be the future – for the good of democracyThoughts of a Wannabe Librarian.   “Libraries do not discriminate when providing access to information.  You do not have to be rich to take advantage of the wealth of information that the library provides.  Likewise, you do not have to be wealthy to consult a librarian and ensure you gain access to the very best information available.  This is the danger in believing the internet will remain static and unchanging forever.  The internet is a mechanism for corporations to make money, whereas for libraries it is a tool to enhance the social, political and cultural life of society.”


Local News

  • Bolton – Time to have your say on library closures – Bolton News.   “As well as an online survey, and to ensure the council gets a statistically sound picture of the whole borough, surveys are also being sent to 7,000 random households.”
    • A bungled decision – Alan Gibbons.  Campaigners point out major problems with consultation including some factors double-weighted without explanation, many rankings wrong, lack of equalities impact data. 
    • Save Bolton Libraries – Facebook group. “the campaign committee believes the five closures proposed – Astley Bridge, Castle Hill, Halliwell (Oxford Grove) Heaton & Highfield (the Orchards) – are neither necessary nor inevitable. Other Councils have either dropped their library closure plans (Suffolk) or are having to reconsider in the light of judicial review (Brent, Gloucestershire) we urge you to reject all three options – we feel the wording is biased and does not give a true picture of the situation. We ask you to use the space available in the open questions (Q3,6,8) on the forms to set out your concerns about specific branches closing, and to make the case for keeping all the five branches open.”
  • Croydon – Misinformaiton CroydonThat Woman’s Blog.  Piece points out all Croydon libraries, not “just” those under threat of closure, may be privatised.
  • Doncaster — Pull your socks up DCMSSave Doncaster Libraries.  DCMS refuses to visit Doncaster despite invitation by both council and campaigners and plans to close half of branches in 2012.  “We want to know why the DCMS, when asked by a council for support, have refused to meet with them. We already know that the DCMS do not wish to listen to the hundreds of thousands of people around the country who are fighting to save their libraries, but to ignore the pleas of a council too? Surely this is a failure of their statutory duty…”.  New nickname for Ed “Evaisive” Vaizey = “Lazy Vaizey”. 
  • Isle of Wight – Council welcomes High Court library decision –  Isle of Wight Chronicle.  ““This decision means that we can focus all our efforts on helping support those community groups who are working so hard to establish community libraries. We have recently extended the time available to these groups to finalise their proposals as a sign of our commitment to maintaining an excellent library provision on the Island.”. Paper notes that legal cost to council was £12,000 [ information from campaigners suggest that this was because they had paid for the most expensive legal defenders available].
  • Oxfordshire – Library campaigner warns of staff imbalanceOxford Mail.   Campaigner notes 29.5% of staff spending is on back-room staff (inc.  managers and specialists) but consultation does not allow for suggestion that they are cut.  Council responds by saying this suggestion can be added in to the consultation and that there will be a 16% cut in their costs.
  • Stirling – Library Service Success Stirling Council.  Library service evaluates itself, with CILIPS (library professional association in Scotland) support and gives itself 6 out of 6, notably due to reader development.  ““A range of quality indicators are measured in the evaluation, and Stirling’s Libraries returned a maximum score in identifying and meeting interest in reading, offering a range of reading events and meeting the needs of all readers. Stirling Council’s libraries are the first in Scotland to record a maximum score, and all involved should be rightly proud of this outstanding level of performance.”
  • Wirral – Library service is lifelineWirral Globe.   94 year old housebound reader praises Wirral’s books on wheels service “A dedicated staff try to identify with any specific request, be it in fiction, DVDs and the more serious interests. Their monthly visits are a lifeline to so many of us and their help and pleasant personalities are a credit to the library service. Long may it continue.”